WHAT DOES IT DO
DIMS Disaster Information Management System supports decision-making for all decision-making by the NLRC crisis organisation, such as the infield intelligence coming from the 23 DAC’s in The Netherlands & Local Branches in Dutch Caribbean. Including the LAC, LOT, CCT & CMT teams. It provides a situation overview for the response programs we do: food aid, medical aid, psychosocial support, logistical aid, etc., with the aim of planning faster and more efficient interventions based on needs.
Typically this type of data is collected via different tools and shared as word/PowerPoint documents or reports in meetings. Whilst this method works well, there is always potential to save time, be more efficient in data collection, minimisation to reduce duplication and storage. There is also room to partially replace them with centralised dashboards that automatically update and drill down to specific information and regional needs per DAC or Team.
WHAT HAS BEEN DONE
A first version of the DIMS data warehouse was set up where all data streams come together centrally. With this data we made products that helped drive decision making (maps, dashboards, apps). These products are made by learning from the end users in the DAC’s and in HQ to ensure we are creating what they need to help them achieve the best Red Cross service for people affected and institutions needing support.
For example understand the priority areas through collecting & visualising data through Maps & Dashboards are
- Vulnerable groups per municipality, such as at Risk groups (RIVM) including the elderly, the chronically ill, or other vulnerable groups
- Location & types of Helpline & “look after each other” requests
- Locations of hospitals, care institutions, reception centers for the homeless & migrants
WHAT IS STILL ONGOING
We are continuously developing the data architecture, to streamline the data flow and make it easier for analysts to access the data and create data products from them over time.
Whilst initial maps & dashboards to visualise the data were very useful, we want to ensure the right information reaches the all end users to allow for informed decision making as situations change. We will continuously engage with and learn from all end users.
- Person Affected (Started)
- Ready2helpers (Started)
- Volunteers (ongoing)
- Local Branches & Districts (ongoing)
- Teams in HQ (ongoing)
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES & CONTINUAL LEARNINGS
The creation of a Disaster information management system and data base creation requires the understanding of data flows, data input such as forms & questionnaires, and a strategic alignment on categorisation. When most of these data flows do not exist and multiple teams are creating inputs in parallel use these questions below to help create alignment and best practices.
- Who is helped by collecting & storing this data?
- Who uses this data to inform their decision making?
- What data/functionality is for now (specify timeframe of “now” today, this week)
- What data/functionality is for later (specify timeframe of “later” next week/month/year)
- What data/functionality can/should be reused outside of disaster response?
- What are the best internal & external taxonomy or naming conventions?
- Who decides what is in scope & what is not? Can one Product owner be allocated?
Way of working
- Know the difference of when you “have to assume” V’s when “you invest time upfront to ask”
- Find the balance between taking the time to do it right first time V’s doing it fast.
- Communicate clearly to acting team members that there are increments in the implementation.
- Ensure you keep an eye on creating space for change over time.
- Create DIMS using the Data Responsibility Framework.